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Old 04-12-2014, 06:19 PM
 
184 posts, read 691,162 times
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I'll defer to Heavenwood on this, but as a transplant to the area, I'll say that some of the other areas have greater name recognition and are more likely to be the initial choice of relocating house hunters. I know that as a buyer from out of town, Penn Valley was not on my radar, and my realtor emphasized the value of places like, say, Villanova. I'm not arguing that it's not nice, but the op seemed very concerned about potential resale, and I got the sense it might be in a short timeframe. Of course it is lovely, etc.
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Old 04-12-2014, 07:13 PM
 
Location: North by Northwest
7,473 posts, read 10,235,627 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silverspringer View Post
I'll defer to Heavenwood on this, but as a transplant to the area, I'll say that some of the other areas have greater name recognition and are more likely to be the initial choice of relocating house hunters. I know that as a buyer from out of town, Penn Valley was not on my radar, and my realtor emphasized the value of places like, say, Villanova. I'm not arguing that it's not nice, but the op seemed very concerned about potential resale, and I got the sense it might be in a short timeframe. Of course it is lovely, etc.
I repeat: within LM, rational people choose on the basis of the house. PV/Gladwyne/Villanova/Haverford/Rosemont are cut from the same cloth in that they're predominantly auto-centric and spread-out, where charming custom construction is the rule and not the exception. Compare that to the rest of LM, which is much more dense, walkable, and more mixed pre- and post-war (skewed toward the former). If statistics compiled by a reliable, non-biased source (IE, the Census Bureau) aren't enough to convince you that appreciation/resale value in PV are perfectly fine, let my 18 years of LM residency be a testament to the fact that people generally don't snub their noses at it. The snobs around here usually knock Ardmore, Belmont Hills, the working class parts of Bryn Mawr, and Narberth (though Narberth is now gaining in cachet generally) not that anyone should care what they think, anyway.

I repeat, for someone looking for a big, custom house on a lot of land in a more quiet, car-centered community with a $1-$2 million budget, PV is worth including in the search. I don't care where the OP ultimately ends up (whether the ML, Abington, or somewhere else entirely) but don't try to frighten him off with this nonsense.

Last edited by ElijahAstin; 04-12-2014 at 07:50 PM..
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Old 04-12-2014, 09:21 PM
 
9 posts, read 16,859 times
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Thanks very much for all of the discussion guys, this is truly very helpful.

Just to clarify, I may have come off a bit too heavy around the investment "safety" issue. This isn't (fingers crossed) a short term stint for us - the plan is actually to stay 10-20 years depending. So it's not about fear that selling the house in 2 years won't be easy as much as just a general concern for buying the most expensive house on the street is scarier for us then moving to a street full of similar homes.

I think the bottom line is that we've found several houses we really like on the ML (in several different towns, not just PV) and we feel great about the schools there BUT not great about the commute. The Abington area is located perfectly for our needs and we've already found a home there that we really like - what's stopping us from just pulling the trigger are just two concerns

1) We don't feel quite as good about the schools in Abington
2) We have found two VERY similar homes, one on the ML and one in Rydal/Meadowbrook, each costing the same amount (1.5M) and from what I've read, if we're getting the same home for the same price, the ML would be the "smarter" buy.

It seems like if I could just pick the ML up and move it to the NE side of Phila, my problems would be solved

Thanks again, I appreciate the time you're all taking to help answer our questions.
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Old 04-12-2014, 10:37 PM
 
Location: North by Northwest
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2) Shouldn't worry you so much. I can find the stats for you, but I'm fairly certain homes on that side of Abington have appreciated at a decent clip as well.

As for 1), I believe (but am not entirely certain) that Abington has some highly rated elementary school catchments, whereas the middle and high schools, while far from bad, are more middling in status as far as suburban districts go. Perhaps you could take a "wait and see" approach and use private schools as a backup if necessary.
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Old 04-13-2014, 01:22 PM
 
8,048 posts, read 18,469,927 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeavenWood View Post
2) Shouldn't worry you so much. I can find the stats for you, but I'm fairly certain homes on that side of Abington have appreciated at a decent clip as well.

As for 1), I believe (but am not entirely certain) that Abington has some highly rated elementary school catchments, whereas the middle and high schools, while far from bad, are more middling in status as far as suburban districts go. Perhaps you could take a "wait and see" approach and use private schools as a backup if necessary.

I can co-sign on the fact that the elementary schools particularly east of Route 611/Old York Road are solid. While I don't think it will be necessary to go the private route for high school, the OP might find it worthwhile to look into Abington Friends.
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Old 04-14-2014, 06:06 AM
 
82 posts, read 131,227 times
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Abington certainly isn't a bad school district by any stretch of the imagination....but the high school is quite large and covers a wide socio-economic range. I think you will find most of your neighbors (those spending 2mm on a home) will be sending their kids to private school. Check out Abington Friends, The Meadowbrook School (to grade 8 only if I remember), Penn Charter, Germantown Academy.

On the other hand, on the Main Line, there will be plenty of kids in public school from similar economic situations as you.
All things being equal, in my opinion, the Main Line is a much more desirable place to live - less auto-centric, closer to the city and manayunk, king of prussia, etc...But I'm not gonna lie, the commute to trevose is gonna suck. Its doable, but it will get old quickly.
Either way,they're both great places to live.
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Old 04-14-2014, 10:20 AM
 
9 posts, read 16,859 times
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Thanks guys. I'm feeling better after this discussion re Abington.

The killer is that from a real estate cost AND a tax perspective things are equal between the two areas - which makes me lean toward the ML being a bit nicer AND a school district I'd take advantage of for 13 years...but at the end of the day, I may just have to suck it up, go with Abington, save my sanity commuting and just pay for private school if it comes to that.
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Old 04-14-2014, 02:42 PM
 
1,114 posts, read 1,966,926 times
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if you can afford it, do your kids a favor and send them to private schools . . .regardless of what district you live in.
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Old 04-14-2014, 03:45 PM
 
Location: North by Northwest
7,473 posts, read 10,235,627 times
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Originally Posted by Angus215 View Post
if you can afford it, do your kids a favor and send them to private schools . . .regardless of what district you live in.
Or stockpile the extra money for their college/grad school education (or perhaps even a downpayment on their first homes).*

*Full disclosure: I went to a high school where only 25% of my classmates got into Ivies and their equivalents.

Seriously though, there's no reason not to give the public schools in either district a try. There are a number of people in my Ivy League law skool from LM/Harriton, but more than a few from Abington as well.
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Old 04-14-2014, 04:48 PM
 
123 posts, read 144,398 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angus215 View Post
if you can afford it, do your kids a favor and send them to private schools . . .regardless of what district you live in.
Um, why? That seems like a complete waste of money unless they are billionare rich. Honestly, the Lower Merion schools are just as good as any prep school.
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